You Are Not as Interesting as You Think You Are

This guy is WAY more interesting than you.

You need to know this: You are not as interesting as you think you are.

And that’s okay. It’s just important that you know it.

It’s human nature to think that you are interesting. You get to live in your body and experience all these thoughts and desires and observations that only you can experience the way you do. You get to identify your quirks and peccadilloes firsthand. Thus it is your natural tendency to think that you are just as interesting to other people as you are to yourself.

Perhaps at some point you’ve said that you should write a memoir or start a blog or be on a TV show. Because you have an incredible story to tell: your life story, your online dating stories, your special talent, etc. You believe that you are worthy of a rapt audience.

I want you to step back for one second and consider the possibility that you are not interesting. You are not unique. You are one of 7 BILLION people on this planet. There is nothing you have experienced or observed or thought that someone hasn’t already done.

BUT…there is a but.

You are not as interesting as you think you are, but you have the ability to be selectively fascinating.

The key is to stop making it about you. Stop thinking of yourself as interesting and start thinking about what other people are interested in. Put your audience first. You have tons of stories to tell–figure out which ones are funny or horrifying or insightful, and determine how can you tell them in a way that will captivate and benefit your audience.

Your audience comes first.

I’m not just talking about media. I’m talking about everyday conversations. Don’t share everything with your friends. Share the good stuff, the juicy stuff, the vulnerable stuff. Relate to your conversation partner or your audience. Conversations aren’t TED talks, but this is about respecting your audience, whether it’s your mother when you call home tomorrow, a group of acquaintances at a BBQ this weekend, or the people who take the time to read your blog. Respect them by telling a great story and asking great questions, every day.

Again, it all starts with the realization that you are not as interesting as you think you are. I guarantee this. You are not the exception. I am not the exception.

Let me repeat that: I am not the exception. Sure, I write a blog that is largely about myself. But every time I sit down to write, I think, “Will this be interesting to my readers? Will they gain anything from it? How can I best tell the story?”

I don’t succeed every time. But I promise you that I always try. I really do. It’s actually really good for my ego when a blog entry or Facebook post doesn’t get any comments/Likes, because I can learn from it. I can ask myself, “Why wasn’t that post as interesting as I thought it was?”

The answer, all too often, is, “Oh yeah. I’m not as interesting as I think I am.”

Take yourself down a notch, consider your audience, and hone the way you communicate. You’re not as interesting as you think you are, but you have the ability to be selectively fascinating. Good luck.

Related entry from the Blank Slate Press blog: Authors, Ego, and True Stories

11 thoughts on “You Are Not as Interesting as You Think You Are”

  1. I’ll do the exact opposite of this, because I have the exact opposite thinking on this. From now on, it’s “I’m f***ing interest and awesome and none of you are!” *Flex muscles*

    I love the monkey picture. Why do monkeys need clothes though?

    And when is that live commenting going to start? How will that work?

    • Well played, Jasmin. Well played. I don’t know why monkeys need clothing, but he still looks awesome.

      I haven’t decided when the live commenting will start, but we’ll use the normal comments platform for it.

  2. Thank god someone finally said it. I love this entry. This was a discovery I made a few years ago. I still get off track every now and then, but I catch myself pretty quickly. Part of the reason that I don’t have a blog is because I’m scared I would lose sight of keeping it interesting for my readers. I know several friends from high school that have blogs that are just recapping what they’ve done and where they’ve gone every few weeks, and it is a total snooze fest. I really don’t care that you went to a pumpkin festival and then back home to visit your parents for the weekend. I check them once every few months maybe because they rarely have anything interesting to say.

    There could also be a sub entry called: your child is not as interesting as you think they are. It took me a while to figure this one out too. Yes, kids do stuff sometimes that is funny and interesting, but not every story is a gem. Only parents (and possibly grandparents) are really truly interested beyond anything other than the biggest stuff or a truly hilarious moment. I have one friend that ONLY seems to Facebook or text me with photos of her kid. Yeah, he’s cute, but if I’ve seen him crawl once, I’ve seen him crawl a million times. I have one friend with whom I share frequent Charlotte stories (and I love her stories too), but she has a little girl the same age so we really relate to each other and find these tales interesting. These same stories would bore most people to death though!

    Love the blog entry on BSP too! I’ve also cringed when reading old stories. What a difference a few years can make in your perspective!

    • Katie–I’m glad this resonated with you. I’ve been thinking about this entry for a while.

      That’s a GREAT point about children, and it’s pretty cool that it would come from you, a mother. As you point out, the key is to consider your audience. Some audience members (like your close mother friend) will love stories that others will not. I try to use the same filter with my cat. Conversations with fellow cat owners are very different than those with other people.

      • There should also be an entry that your pet is not as interesting as you think it is. 🙂 For instance, Jamey, you post relevant and remarkable tidbits about your cats, but not about every tiny thing they do. Please spread the word at the next big cat-person convention that this is the standard for society.

        • Emma–I’ll make sure to tell all my cat convention friends. I must admit that I walk a fine line with the cats. Feel free to tell me if I ever cross that line! 🙂

          • Hah, you’re in the clear! I think if people don’t overdo them, pet stories are endearing no matter the content because it’s fun to see people talk about something/someone they love. If you start posting everyday, beware of pet story burnout.

  3. It’s better to be interested rather than interesting. Marshall Sylver
    I prefer the amusing angle. And yes, I may not always be interesting but I am interested and amusing. =)


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